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Associate Professor Tony Verboom

Phone: 021 650 3398 
Room No.: 3.11 (HW Pearson Building)







Core research interests

phylogenetic systematics • origin and maintenance of species boundaries • evolution and functional significance of plant traits, especially relating to resource acquisition • radiation of the Cape flora • community assembly and species coexistence • monographic research
Ehrharta, Danthonieae (Poaceae) • Schoeneae, especially Tetraria (Cyperaceae) • Jamesbrittenia (Scrophulariaceae) • Thesium (Santalaceae)


Professional career

1989-1992  BSc (Hons), Cape Town
1993-1995  MSc, Cape Town
1995  Curatorial Assistant, Royal Botanic Gardens Kew
1996-2000  PhD, Cape Town
2000-2001  Postdoctoral fellow, University of Missouri-Saint Louis
2002-2006  Lecturer, University of Cape Town
2007-2011  Senior lecturer, University of Cape Town
2012-present  Associate professor, University of Cape Town


Undergraduate teaching

At undergraduate level, I currently teach modules on vascular and flowering plant diversity, global species richness patternsm, and in the theory and logic of comparative evolutionary ecology and phylogenetic systematics. At honours level, I teach a module on phylogenetic ecology.


Postgraduate students

Joel Lewis (MSc, co-supervisor)
Seth Musker (MSc)
Jack Viljoen (MSc, co-supervisor)
Simon Power (PhD, co-supervisor)


Joanne Bentley (MSc, 2014) Phylogenetics and biogeography of the relhanioid paper-daiy lineage (Asteraceae: Gnaphalieae): palaeoenvironmental evolution, migration and speciation in southern Africa and the greater Afrotemperate region

Ignatious Matimati (PhD, co-supervisor, 2014) Functional role of plant water fluxes in nutrient acquisition

Vera Hoffmann (MSc, 2012) Plants as biotic indicators of Neogene palaeoenvironmental evolution in the Cape Floristic Region.

Jasper Slingsby (PhD, 2011) Ecological differentiation and the evolution and maintenance of fynbos diversity

Simon Power (MSc, co-supervisor, 2010) Soil P availability limits legume persistence and distribution in the fynbos of the Cape Floristic Region

Matthew Britton (MSc, 2009) Tetraria triangularis (Boeck.) C. B. Clarke and the Cape Fold Archipelago: an analysis of genetic and morphological variation in a high-altitude species native to the mountains of the Cape Floristic Region

Megan Yates (MSc, co-supervisor, 2009) The physiological significance of culm structures in fynbos plants

Timothy Moore (MSc, 2009) Nutritional niches and the evolution of specialized foraging traits in the genus Thesium (Santalaceae)

Tracey Nowell (PhD, 2008) The spatial and temporal dynamics of diversification in Tylecodon, Cotyledon and Adromischus (Crassulaceae) in southern Africa

Margaret Herron (MSc, 2006) Phylogenetic studies in the genus Jamesbrittenia (Manuleae; Scrophulariaceae)

Jack Henning (MSc, 2003) Further studies with Melianthus L.: a molecular phylogeny, evolutionary patterns of diversification in the genus and pollinator syndromes



Linder HP, Verboom GA. Submitted. Radiation of the southern African flora. Annual Reviews in Ecology, Evolution and Systematics.

Bergh NG, Haiden SA, Verboom GA. Submitted. Molecular phylogeny of the 'Cape snow' genus Syncarpha (Asteraceae: Gnaphalieae) reveals a need for generic re-delimitation. South African Journal of Botany. Manuscript SAJB-S-15-00005.

Bergh NG, Hoffman V, Linder HP, Verboom GA. Submitted. Molecular dating of the daisy family leads to inference of recent, rapid radiation in the Stoebe clade of paper daisies (Asteraceae: Gnaphalieae) in the lowlands of the Cape Floristic Region. Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society. Manuscript BOTJLS-Jan-2015-1999-OM.

Hoffmann V, Verboom GA, Cotterill FPD. Submitted. Neogene climate and landscape evolution in the Cape Floristic region of South Africa: insights from plant phylogeny. PLOS ONE. Manuscript PONE-D-15-00351.

Allsopp N, Colville JF, Verboom GA (editors). 2014. Fynbos: ecology evolution and conservation of a megadiverse region. Oxford University Press, Oxford.

Verboom GA, Bergh NG, Haiden SA, Hoffmann V, Britton MN. In press, 2015. Topography as a driver of diversification in the Cape Floristic Region. New Phytologist.

Ellis AG, Verboom GA, van der Niet T, Johnson SD, Linder HP. 2014. Speciation and extinction in the Greater Cape Floristic Region. In: Allsopp N, Colville JF, Verboom GA (eds.), Fynbos: ecology, evolution and conservation of a megadiverse region, 119-142. Oxford University Press, Oxford.

Verboom GA, Linder HP, Forest F, Hoffmann V, Bergh NG, Cowling RM. 2014. Cenozoic assembly of the Greater Cape flora. In: Allsopp N, Colville JF, Verboom GA (eds.), Fynbos: ecology, evolution and conservation of a megadiverse region, 93-118. Oxford University Press, Oxford.

Bergh NG, Verboom GA, Rouget M, Cowling RM. 2014. Vegetation types of the Greater Cape Floristic Region. In: Allsopp N, Colville JF, Verboom GA (eds.), Fynbos: ecology, evolution and conservation of a megadiverse region, 1-25. Oxford University Press, Oxford.

Britton MN, Hedderson TA, Verboom GA. 2014. Topography as a driver of cryptic speciation in the high-elevation sedge Tetraria triangularis (Boeck.) C.B. Clarke (Cyperaceae: Schoeneae). Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 77: 96-109.

Slingsby JA, Britton MN, Verboom GA. 2014. Ecology limits the diversity of the Cape flora: phylogenetics and diversification of the genus Tetraria. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 72: 61-70.

Bouchenak-Khelladi Y, Slingsby JA, Verboom GA, Bond WJ. 2014. Diversification of C4 grasses does not coincide with their ecological dominance. American Journal of Botany 101: 300-307.

Bentley J, Verboom GA, Bergh NG. 2014. Erosive processes after tectonic uplift stimulate vicariant and adaptive speciation: evolution in an Afrotemperate-endemic paper daisy genus. BMC Evolutionary Biology 14: 27.

Matimati I, Verboom GA, Cramer MD. 2014. Do hydraulic redistribution and nocturnal transpiration facilitate nutrient acquisition in Aspalathus linearis? Oecologia 175: 1129-1142.

Matimati I, Verboom GA, Cramer MD. 2014. Nitrogen regulation of transpiration controls mass-flow acquisition of nutrients. Journal of Experimental Botany 65: 159-168.

Viljoen J-A, Muasya AM, Barrett RL, Bruhl JJ, Gibbs AK, Slingsby JA, Wilson KA, Verboom GA. 2013. Radiation and repeated transoceanic dispersal of Schoeneae (Cyperaceae) through the Southern Hemisphere. American Journal of Botany 100: 2494-2508.

Verboom GA, Moore TE, Hoffmann V, Cramer MD. 2012. The roles of climate and nutrients in shaping life history traits in Cape grasses. Plant and Soil 355: 323-340.

Stock WD, Verboom GA. 2012. Phylogenetic ecology of foliar N, P and N:P ratios across Mediterranean type ecosystems. Global Ecology and Biogeography 21: 1147-1156.

Power SC, Cramer MD, Verboom GA, Chimphango SBM. 2011. Legume seeders of the Cape Floristic Region inhabit more fertile soils than congeneric resprouters - sometimes. Plant Ecology 212: 1979-1989.

Bergh NG, Trisos CH, Verboom GA. 2011. Phylogenetic relationships of Ifloga and Trichogyne (Compositae, Gnaphalieae) and resurrection of the genus Comptonanthus. Taxon 60: 1065-1075.

Bergh NG, Verboom GA. 2011. Anomalous capitulum structure and monoecy confer flexible sex allocation and life history evolution in the Ifloga lineage of paper daisies (Compositae: Gnaphalieae). American Journal of Botany 98: 1113-1127.

Warren BH, Bakker FT, Bellstedt DU, Bytebier B, Classen-Bockhoff R, Dreyer LL, Edwards D, Forest F, Galley C, Hardy CR, Linder HP, Muasya AM, Mummenhoff K, Oberlander KC, Quint M, Richardson JE, Savolainen V, Schrire BD, Van der Niet T, Verboom GA, Yesson C, Hawkins JA. 2011. Consistent phenological shifts in the making of a biodiversity hotspot: the Cape flora. BMC Evolutionary Biology 11: 39.

Power SC, Cramer MD, Verboom GA, Chimphango SBM. 2010. Does phosphate acquisition constrain legume persistence in the fynbos of the Cape Floristic Region? Plant and Soil 334: 33-46.

Linder HP, Baeza M, Barker NP, Galley C, Humphreys AM, Lloyd K, Orlovich D, Pirie MD, Simon BK, Walsh N, Verboom GA. 2010. A generic classification of the Danthonioideae (Poaceae). Annals of the Missouri Botanical Garden 97: 306-364. .

Bouchenak-Khelladi Y, Verboom GA, Savolainen V, Hodkinson TR. 2010. Biogeography of the grasses (Poaceae): a phylogenetic approach to reveal evolutionary history in geographical space and time. Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society 162: 543-557. .

Malgas RR, Potts AJ, Oettle NM, Koelle B, Todd SW, Verboom GA, Hoffman MT. 2010. Distribution, quantitative morphological variation and preliminary molecular analysis of different growth forms of wild rooibos (Aspalathus linearis) in the northern Cederberg and on the Bokkeveld Plateau. South African Journal of Botany 76: 72-81. .

Moore TE, Verboom GA, Forest F. 2010. Phylogenetics and biogeography of the parasitic genus Thesium L. (Santalaceae), with an emphasis on the Cape of South Africa. Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society 162: 435-452. .

Yates MJ, Verboom GA, Rebelo AG, Cramer MD. 2010. Ecophysiological significance of leaf size variation in Proteaceae from the Cape Floristic Region. Functional Ecology 24: 485-492.

Cramer MD, Hawkins H-J, Verboom GA. 2009. The importance of nutritional regulation of plant water flux. Oecologia 161: 15-24.

Bouchenak-Khelladi Y, Verboom GA, Hodkinson TR, Salamin N, Francois O, Chonghaile GN, Savolainen V.2009. The origins and diversification of C4 grasses and savanna-adapted ungulates. Global Change Biology 15: 2397-2417.

Verboom GA, Dreyer LL, Savolainen V (guest editorial). 2009. Understanding the origins and evolution of the world's biodiversity hotspots: the biota of the African 'Cape Floristic Region' as a case study. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 51: 1-4.

Verboom GA, Archibald JK, Bakker FT, Bellstedt DU, Conrad F, Dreyer LL, Forest F, Galley C, Goldblatt P, Henning JF, Mummenhoff K, Linder HP, Muasya AM, Oberlander KC, Savolainen V, Snijman DA, van der Niet T, Nowell TL. 2009. Origin and diversification of the Greater Cape flora: Ancient species repository, hot-bed of recent radiation, or both? Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 51: 44-53.

Muasya AM, Simpson DA, Verboom GA, Goetghebeur P, Naczi RFC, Chase MW, Smets E. 2009. Phylogeny of Cyperaceae based on DNA sequence data: current progress and future prospects. The Botanical Review 75: 2-21.

Cramer MD, Hoffmann V, Verboom GA. 2008. Nutrient availability moderates transpiration in Ehrharta calycina. New Phytologist 179: 1048-1057.

Pirie MD, Humphreys AM, Galley C, Barker NP, Verboom GA, Orlovich D, Draffin SJ, Lloyd K, Baeza CM, Negritto M, Ruiz E, Cota Sanchez JH, Reimer E, Linder HP. 2008. A novel supermatrix approach improves resolution of phylogenetic relationships in a comprehensive sample of danthonioid grasses. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 48: 1106-1119.

Hempson GP, February EC, Verboom GA. 2007. Determinants of Colophospermum mopane growth form in arid savannas. Austral Ecology 32: 429-435.

Trinder-Smith TH, Linder HP, van der Niet T, Verboom GA, Nowell TL. 2007. Plastid DNA sequences reveal generic paraphyly within Diosmeae (Rutoideae, Rutaceae). Systematic Botany 32: 847-855.

Barker NP, Galley C, Verboom GA, Mafa P, Gilbert M, Linder HP. 2007. The phylogeny of the austral grass subfamily Danthonioideae: evidence from multiple data sets. Plant Systematics and Evolution 264: 135-156.

Linder HP, Dlamini T, Henning J, Verboom GA. 2006. The evolutionary history of Melianthus (Melianthaceae), an enigmatic southern African shrub. American Journal of Botany 93: 1052-1064.

Slingsby JA, Verboom GA. 2006. Phylogenetic relatedness limits coexistence at fine spatial scales: evidence from the schoenoid sedges (Cyperaceae: Schoeneae) of the Cape Floristic Region, South Africa. The American Naturalist 168: 14-27.

Verboom GA, Ntsohi R, Barker NP. 2006. Molecular phylogeny of African Rytidosperma-affiliated danthonioid grasses reveals generic polyphyly and convergent evolution in spikelet morphology. Taxon 55: 337-348.

Verboom GA. 2006. A phylogeny of the schoenoid sedges (Cyperaceae: Schoeneae) based on plastid DNA sequences, with special reference to the genera found in Africa. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 38: 79-89.

Verboom GA, Linder HP, Stock WD. 2004. Testing the adaptive nature of radiation: growth form and life history divergence in the African grass genus Ehrharta (Poaceae: Ehrhartoideae). American Journal of Botany 91: 1364-1370.

Stock WD, Chuba DK, Verboom GA. 2004. Distribution of South African C3 and C4 species of Cyperaceae in relation to climate and phylogeny. Austral Ecology 29: 313-319.

Verboom GA. 2003. Poaceae. In: TH Trinder-Smith, The Levyns guide to the plant genera of the southwestern Cape, Pp. 54-77. Contributions from the Bolus Herbarium 21.

Verboom GA, Linder HP, Stock WD. 2003. Phylogenetics of the grass genus Ehrharta: evidence for radiation in the summer-arid zone of the South African Cape. Evolution 57: 1008-1021.

Verboom GA, Stock WD, Linder HP. 2002. Determinants of postfire flowering in the geophytic grass Ehrharta capensis. Functional Ecology 16: 705-713.

Verboom GA, Linder HP. 1998. A re-evaluation of species limits in Chaetobromus (Danthonieae: Poaceae). Nordic Journal of Botany 18: 57-77.

Linder HP, Verboom GA, Barker NP. 1997. Phylogeny and evolution in the Crinipes group of grasses (Arundinoideae: Poaceae). Kew Bulletin 52: 91-110.

Linder HP, Verboom GA. 1996. Generic limits in the Rytidosperma (Danthonieae, Poaceae) complex. Telopea 6: 597-627.

Verboom GA, Linder HP, Barker NP. 1994. Haustorial synergids: an important character in the systematics of danthonioid grasses (Arundinoideae: Poaceae)? American Journal of Botany 81: 1601-1610.